A Transdisciplinary Approach to Organizing and Managing Online Learning

Concurrent Session 1

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

Online learning requires differents approaches to teaching, learning, and administrating.  Higher learning institutions need to move away from traditional structures and adopt new conceptualizations of the academic department, the department chair, and the online faculty.  Transdisciplinarity plays a vital role in this paradigm shift. 

Presenters

I am a multilingual communications professional, educator, and leader in the higher education and nonprofit sectors, interested in actively contributing to the enrichment of theory, practice, and leadership. For the past seven years I have been involved in online learning in various roles. I co-created my institution's Center for Innovation and Creativity in Education, where I also led a team of instructional designers, graphic designers, and audiovisual technicians in the creation of multimedia content for online courses and trained faculty in the integration of new technologies and strategies in the traditional classroom. For the past five years I have led the campus' academic department for online learning. As department chair I have been widely involved in governance processes such as budgeting, strategic planning, policy, compliance, accreditation, faculty recruitment, selection, supervision and development, course programming, curricular development, instructional design, marketing, and student enrollment, advising, retention and success. I have also been able to implement pilot projects related to embedded librarianship, transdisciplinary team-teaching, communities of practice, internationalization, and faculty intrapreneurship. On the other hand, I have been an online instructor and designer of Management, Marketing, and Sales courses. I have actively contributed to the development of distance learning in Puerto Rico through my participation and involvement in local events, initiatives, and associations.

Extended Abstract

Online learning requires differents approaches to teaching, learning, and administrating.  Higher learning institutions need to move away from traditional structures and adopt new conceptualizations of the academic department, the department chair, and the online faculty.  Transdisciplinarity plays a vital role in this paradigm shift.   In January 2014, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Ponce Campus constituted an academic department dedicated exclusively to online education.  This initiative was intended to increase the academic achievement and retention of the campus’ approximate 1,300 online students.  Since the department's inception, the department’s director, along with a group of 30 professors from diverse disciplines, have worked on more than 25 projects to achieve these goals.  Projects have included the adoption of custom e-books, the creation of podcasts, the development of student-centered academic projects, internationalization initiatives, a pilot project in embedded librarianship, students' entrepreneurship development, and a student immersion/mentoring program, among others.  This session will present some novel initiatives that have resulted from a transdisciplinary and intrapreneurial approach to academic management and faculty collaboration.  Participants will be able learn different ways to innovate distance education.